It’s fair to say the Cubs aren’t in the good hands of their fans right now. The team likely has polls and pie charts telling me I’m wrong, but all of the emails and social media posts I’ve seen seem to suggest that during a broadcast, the franchise’s decision-makers suddenly cast the Would lose engine power Atlantic Yacht Tour, it would be OK for Cubs fans. The yacht’s radio system would fail.
There are several reasons for bad will. The dynasty predicted after the team won the 2016 World Series never materialized. The Cubs haven’t spent any money on free agents this past off-season and appear to be well on their way to some competitive “time out”. That off-season they traded ace Yu Darvish on a luxury tax payroll, a terrible betrayal by a franchise in the big market. Team President Theo Epstein, who led the organization to a championship through a painful restructuring, left this off-season. After the 2019 season, the team split from popular manager Joe Maddon.
The Ricketts family, who own the franchise, seem too often more interested in creating new revenue streams than creating a winner. The Cubs TV network, unveiled in 2020, continues to chop fans off through its very greedy existence.
Finally, and perhaps most damagingly, many of the Rickettses are vocal, committed, whiskered conservatives at a time when politics in this country are incredibly painful and divisive. For many fans who lean to the left, the uniforms are the only thing remotely blue about the Cubs. I know more than a few who have joined the Crosstown White Sox for precisely this reason.
Those are a lot of issues an organization that is still trying to sell fun in the old stadium – whenever the gates of Wrigley Field open during the pandemic.
So what can the Cubs do to get their fans back on the good side? I have a few suggestions.
Invite President Joe Biden to vacate first seat on opening day.
This would let Cubs fans know that the team understands that it has a serious image problem, that it respects different opinions, and that it is trying to distance itself from Patriarch Joe Ricketts’ more virulent, far-right views that “Muslims are, of course, my enemy.”
Biden, a Democrat, could be kicked out first place for the Cubs kick-off at 1:20 p.m. on April 1 in Wrigley and then be back in Washington to do the same for the Nationals kick-off that night.
As Vice President he threw first place for the Orioles on the opening day of 2009 and came reasonably close to the goal of backup catcher Chad Moeller. As a pitcher, Biden is an avowed righty.
If this idea infuriates Republican Cubs fans out there, don’t let me reveal Plan B should Biden be unavailable: U.S. Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tosses Joe Ricketts.
Show 2021 games for free on the Marquee Sports Network.
Madness right? Bad deal. An MBA’s nightmare. But when the Cubs cry over all the cuts they have had to make due to COVID-19, they don’t seem to understand how brutal the virus has been to the millions of non-Cubs employees who lost their jobs due to the pandemic. What a patriotic gesture it would be if they gave the fighting fans a chance to watch all of this season’s games on TV for free.
Have team chairman Tom Ricketts sit on a dunk tank in Wrigley every time he gets the urge to say, “We have no money.”
Nobody wants to hear that the owner of a baseball team is running out of money in the third largest television market in the country. First, because it’s not true, and second, because there should be a law that if you want to be the big boy owner of a legacy team, then you have to spend big boy money.
Let the dunk tank fill with annual milk. And let the fans throw the balls at the target.
Keep Javy Baez.
Everyone is now a genius because of analytics, and there is less room for loyalty in sport than ever before. But how about throwing a bone at the fan base and explaining to the baseball world that Baez will remain a cub for a long time? Yes, he’s had a bad year, but the shortstop remains one of the most exciting players in the game. Give him a contract extension.
Many Cubs fans feel like something is slipping away, and while they know they have no control over what their team does on staffing matters, believing it has only been heard once would go a long way in repairing a break to be relationship.
Leave kids in Wrigley for free when it reopens.
OK, not all children. We don’t want the stadium to become a day-care center. How about this: If viewers are allowed to return to Wrigley, one fan under 13 years old will have free entry per adult.
This addresses both the franchise’s reputation for being all money-driven, as well as Major League Baseball’s problem of attracting young fans. It would be a win-win for a team that doesn’t hoist the W flag as often as fans would want in 2021.